JERUSALEM (Nov. 23)
Premier Menachem Begin and Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir briefed the Cabinet today on their recent trips abroad — Begin’s to the U.S. and Shamir’s to West Germany. Each claimed that Israel’s international standing is improving. But there was an air of watchful waiting in the Cabinet to see what develops when the Republican Administration takes office in Washington and begins to delve into foreign policy matters.
Begin said he had received the impression that the Reagan Administration, like that of President Carter, would continue to support Middle East negotiations on the basis of the Camp David accords.
The Premier, who met with Carter, but not with President-elect Reagan, said Carter shared his view that there was no alternative to the Camp David process inasmuch as it is based on a binding international convention.
NO MIDEAST SUMMIT TILL AFTER JAN. 20
He said it was not clear whether Carter intended to take any further measures in the Middle East before his term expires in January but it appeared certain that there will be no Mideast summit meeting until after Reagan is inaugurated Jan. 20.
Begin repeated that he did not ask for a meeting with the President-elect and no pressure was brought to bear for such a meeting while he was in the U.S. He insisted that he was not offended by the fact that Reagan did find time “for a courtesy meeting” with West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt in Washington last week although a week earlier, when asked if he would meet with Begin, the President-elect said it would be unseemly for him to meet with any foreign head of government before his inauguration.
SCHMIDT DENIES HE IS HOSTILE TOWARD ISRAEL
Shamir reported that he was told by Schmidt during his visit to Bonn last week that it was Germany’s impression that Reagan’s election worked in Israel’s favor. Schmidt also reportedly told Shamir that Israel’s international standing has improved as a result of the Iraqi-Iranian war. The West German leader complained of the bad press he has gotten in Israel, Shamir said.
He said Schmidt denied allegations that he was hostile toward Israel and gave assurances of West Germany’s friendship. He admitted that his country voted for anti-Israel resolutions in international forums on a number of occasions but said it did so under pressure from other member states of the European Economic Community (EEC), Shamir said.
He reported a promise by Schmidt that West Germany would act against the Palestine Liberation Organization if it were proven that the PLO was involved in recent anti-Semitic incidents in Europe.
The Cabinet discussed rumors that Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S., Ephraim Evron, would soon be replaced for failure to sufficiently cultivate the Republican camp in the recent American election campaign. Begin, who has expressed full confidence in Evron, said the rumors were false. Interior Minister Yosef Burg observed that talk about Evron’s possible removal hurt his status in Washington.